Cool things in Blender that aren't so obvious

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Old 03 March 2003   #1
Talking Cool things in Blender that aren't so obvious

I got inspired by a similar thread on the Wings forum. This is a place for posting things included within the program that:

A.- Are really hard to find/notice in the documentation.

B.- Are undocumented at all.

C.- New creative uses for things already present in the program.
Photography works (portfolio in the making)
Old 03 March 2003   #2
I'll get it started with:

You already know that Numpad 1, 7 and 3 puts you on front, top and left view, but did you know that Ctrl+1, Ctrl+7 and Ctrl+3 puts you on back, down and right view (the opposite views) ?


Also, did you know that once you have added a lamp or a world, by placing the cursor over the corresponding icon at the bar (the bar for switching what type of button you see on the buttons window) and pressing the I (i) key you can insert key frames for settings such as light intensity and horizon color?
Photography works (portfolio in the making)
Old 03 March 2003   #3
Another one:

You already know that Blender can load plug-ins for texturing, secuence editor, etc. etc. etc.... but did you know that Blender comes with a few of such plugins un-compiled?

In Linux they are located on the plug-ins sub-directory of the default Blender install, and all that you need is a Make command to compile them. I don't know how to compile them in Windows, but there they are, just waiting for you to awake them!!!
Photography works (portfolio in the making)
Old 03 March 2003   #4
When you're mesh-editing, alt-S will shrink/fatten the mesh selection in the direction of the vertex normals.
Roland -- harkyman
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Old 04 April 2003   #5
COME ON GUYS!!! there must be other cool stuff hidden in our beloved Blender. Why not to share them?

Here is another one: Vertex Parenting

Ok, I can't remember where I learnt this in the first place, but it is hidden in Blender AND IT WORKS.

You can parent object to a Mesh, in that case you are parenting to the center of the mesh.. BUT if the mesh is translated somehow (lest say by an armature's pose) the center remains in the same spot, and thus the child object doesn't receive any transformation at all.

To solve this, you can parent the child object to a vertex (or a face) within the mesh, and any transformation that the vertex receives is passed to the child.

There are only 2 options, to parent to any 3 vertex withing the mesh or to parent to just one vertex. If you parent to 1 vertex then only location information is passed, with 3 vertex all transformations (rotation, location and size) are passed to the child.

How to do it? Starting out of edit mode select the child(s), hold Shilf and select the parent, enter edit mode, select one or tree vertex, press Ctrl-P. That's it!
Photography works (portfolio in the making)
Old 04 April 2003   #6
fly mode

enter camera mode and press Shift-F
move the mouse slowly
space to keep the orientation
escape to cancel fly mode

Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans.
- John Lennon
Old 04 April 2003   #7
Here are some more usefull tricks, related to the view ports and the render buffers.

First. Switching among screens

So you have your screen made off the 3D window, the buttons window and the info window... but you are doing some fine tunning to the mesh in two places simultanesly, and they both need to zoom in the 3D window. You could scroll or zoom out, translate the view and zoom in again. None of them an elegant solution.

Another situation. You are working on a model and are using an image for reference. You are not tracing over the photo, just take a look at it often to make sure you don't deviate to much from the concept. So you open the photo in a 2D program and keep swichting back and forth from Blender.. or you have the photo open in an image window and keep maximizing and minimizing the window... another hastle :annoyed:

Wory no more!!! Blender can handle multiple virtual screen (ala Linux) and you can come and go from them with just one key stroke.

Just press Ctrl+Left Arrow or Ctrl+Right Arrow and you are switching screens. Go ahead! By default EVERY .blend file comes with 3 screens ... and of course you can add/delete as many as you see fit.

** Edit: the magic button to add or delete screens is right beside the Tools menu, up there in the info window.
Photography works (portfolio in the making)

Last edited by Apollux : 04 April 2003 at 04:05 AM.
Old 04 April 2003   #8
Don't know if this qualifies as a 'not so obvious' feature because it was clearly explained in The Tutorial Guide #1 (currently ouf of print), I just can't find on wich page right now.

Using the render buffers

Ok, so you set your scene and press RENDER, a nice window comes up and you see your hard work comming to existence (that's the default behavior, if your change it on the display buttons then this may not work for you).

Do you realize that the window containing your render image is also a render buffer? Actually they are 2 buffers for your to play with. Whenever the render window is open (and you can re-open it by pressing F11 without having to wait again for the render) if you press the J key you can switch from Buffer A and B. (the last active one is what you save when you press F3). You can even swith buffers in the midle of a rendering (but I advice agains that when rendering very complex scenes, you have been warnned!)

The cool thing about having two separete render buffers is that you can have instant before-and-after images for things that you change in the scene. For example you are searching the perfect position for a light source in a scene, you place it and do a render, place the ligth in another positon, switch to the second buffer and do a new render. Now, with the render window open, just press J to see how the change on the light's position influence your scene and that makes your decision easier.

By the way, the render window can be zoomed (by the normal ways or by pressing Z ) to do a closer inspection of the image.
Photography works (portfolio in the making)
Old 04 April 2003   #9
Ok how about this.

Work around to welding Verts:

For Edge loop (verts) position both loops together as close as possible then hit W then 4 (not on numkey pad). You can adjust how far the effect of collapse can go in the Edit window (a button on the right labeled Limit: ***, where * is a number).

As for individual verts, eg. Two vertices welded to become one, select both verts, scale until they are very close then hit W then 4.
Your jutsu is strong, but it holds no sway over mine.
Dominance War V

Old 04 April 2003   #10
Quote: Originally posted by RISKBREAKER
As for individual verts, eg. Two vertices welded to become one, select both verts, scale until they are very close then hit W then 4.

you can also do that with the snap combo

select the vertice you want to weld together
Shift-S, Cur -> Sel
Shift-S, Sel -> Cur
W, Remove Doubles

Also, whenever Blender pop up a menu with different options, you can just type in a number to choose one of the options (use the numbers not on the numpad).

Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans.
- John Lennon
Old 04 April 2003   #11
Animation Preview in all windows at the same time

It is well known that Alt-A is for previewing an animation on the 3D window. But that's not all of it. Divide your screen into multiple 3D Windows, each from a diferent point of view.

Press Alt-Shift-A


If you have an Action/Ipo Window and 3D windows open, and you issue the Alt-Shift-A command from the Action (or the Ipo) window, it will animate both (the action and the 3D) in sync!! Great for visualization of Ipo's efect on your model.
Photography works (portfolio in the making)
Old 04 April 2003   #12
Ever wondered what the RGBA (Red, Green, Blue, Alpha) values of certain image are?

When the render window is open, click and hold with the left button of your mouse. Drag the mouse around and there you go!!
Photography works (portfolio in the making)
Old 04 April 2003   #13
"truck" the camera in camera mode:
1) go into cam mode with NUMPAD 0
2) move the camera with pressing Gkey
3) press the middle mouse button
... and tadaaa!!
[i hope this was clear ]
> stuff
> Big Buck Bunny
Old 04 April 2003   #14
Originally posted by CubeFan973 at elysiun

The Monkey!!!!

For those who may not know it yet (is that possible?) all Publisher versions had been shipping with a Monkey mesh called Suzanne. Just open the main tool box (Space Bar) -> Add -> Mesh -> and right below the other primitives you'll see the Monkey.

Why/What it is for? Only NaN programmers know. It is supposed to be a private joke among the blender developping team.

By the Way, Suzanne isn't the only joke included... but I won't spoil the surprize. You will bump with them on your daily work, that is for sure.
Photography works (portfolio in the making)
Old 04 April 2003   #15
I don't know how many people know this but, if you select certain objects and press CTRL-0 it will make them the camera. I use it all the time to align spotlights.
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